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Arabic press review: Syrian pound loses third of its value in two months

Meanwhile, a Moroccan is on trial in Germany over espionage charges and Egyptian NGOs decry  ‘worst decade for human rights’ in the county
A merchant counts Syrian pound notes, bearing a portrait of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, at the Bzourieh market in the centre of the Syrian capital Damascus on 11 September 2019 (AFP)
A merchant counts Syrian pound notes, bearing a portrait of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, at the Bzourieh market in the centre of Damascus on 11 September 2019 (AFP)

Syrian pound in decline

The Syrian pound has lost about 30 percent of its value in two months, the London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper reported on Saturday. 

The lira stood at over 12,000 pounds against the US dollar on 21 July, the lowest exchange rate on record, according to the newspaper.

The lira value has been in free fall for two months, since it passed 9,000 lira to the US dollar on 11 May. 

The price of gold also jumped to its highest level against the pound, with the price of 21-karat one gram costing 595,000 lira. 

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Syrian traders said the price of essential goods has increased by up to 40 percent amid the currency woes. 

As a result, the salary value for some government employees fell to less than $15 per month. 

Moroccan on trial in Germany for espionage charges

A trial of a man suspected of spying for Moroccan intelligence in Germany started on Monday, the London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported

The 36-year-old man is accused of spying on behalf of Rabat on Germany-based supporters of the Moroccan Hirak opposition movement. 

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According to the report, he admitted in court on Monday to passing information about the protest movement and its supporters to Moroccan authorities. 

The Hirak al-Shaabi or "Popular Movement" refers to protests that took hold in Morocco’s marginalised Rif region in 2016.

The social unrest was sparked by the death of a fisherman in the city of al-Hoceima and escalated into a wave of demonstrations demanding more development in the neglected region and railing against corruption and unemployment.

Authorities accused the activists of having separatist aims. 

The Moroccan on trial told the court that he initially supported the Hirak movement. According to the indictment, he was recruited by Moroccan intelligence in 2020 after he visited the consulate to obtain a certificate of good conduct to travel home. 

‘Worst decade for human rights in Egypt’

Egypt has witnessed the worst decade for human rights in the country, seven NGOs said in a joint statement, the London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper reported on Tuesday. 

The groups released their statements on the 10th anniversary of an infamous speech by then-defence minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in which he asked Egyptians to give him a “mandate” to combat terrorism. 

Sisi led a military coup on 3 July 2013 to remove Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, from power. 

On 14 August, Egyptian forces under his command killed hundreds of people protesting against his coup, in what is known as the Rabaa massacre.

“[The mandate to confront terrorism] became a mandate to suppress, which paved the way for the Rabaa massacre, in which more than 800 protesters were killed by security forces," the seven human rights groups said in their statement. 

"The authorisation letter also allowed authorities to use security pretexts to strengthen their grip, silence independent media and civil society, and eliminate all forms of opposition, including peaceful opposition."

*Arabic press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.